Page last updated at 07:59 GMT, Wednesday, 9 July 2008 08:59 UK

Manchester fires up for New Year

Manchester town hall
Albert Square will be the central point for the celebrations

Manchester is moving a step closer to making the city's New Year celebrations go with a bang.

Plans are being made for official New Year's Eve events, centred on the town hall area, similar to those held at New York's Times Square every year.

A fireworks display is one of the options under consideration after consultation with residents and local businesses, the city council says.

The 2008 plans could be made an annual event if successful.

'Strong case'

Councillor Mike Amesbury, of Manchester City Council, said: "Any New Year event would need to be fully inclusive and family-friendly, and a fireworks display would be something that everyone can enjoy."

A report of the initial plans, including the logistics of the event, will be considered by councillors next week.

Funds would have to be provided by sponsorship, so that other city events, including Manchester Pride and the St George's Day Parade, are not compromised.

Mr Amesbury added: "Although this is still very much at an advisory stage, we will certainly be putting forward a strong case for providing a New Year celebration in Manchester."

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